Monthly Archives: April 2016

May Day Weekend gig alerts!

Gadarene and Dipper Malkin

Two great London gigs a stone’s throw from Kings Cross, with Fiddletails-featured musicians as you’ve probably never seen them before!



Kings Place, Friday 29 April, 10-11.15 pm

Info and tickets here  (Note late performance times – but Kings Place is only a short walk from Kings Cross tube.)

Fiddler Laurel Swift clogs and swings double bass in this extraordinary band playing ‘ultra-modern ancient music that’s wild enough to dance to! Gadarene transform obscure English 18th and 19th-century tunes with arrangements drawing on styles from funk and reggae to electronic and trance. With clogs and drums, mandolin, double bass, fiddle and flute, the band celebrate the release of their new CD’.

Audio showreel:

Gadarene:  website

(Laurel Swift previously featured in posts Ben & Laurel 28 May 2015, and Idbury Hill audio teaching track 22 Aug 2015)


Dipper Malkin

The Harrison, Sunday 1 May, 8-11 pm

Info and tickets here

Fiddler/viola d’amore player John Dipper joins forces with guitarist/singer Dave Malkin in a subtle and intriguing new duo.

Promotional video:

Dipper MalkinFacebook

(John Dipper previously featured in Oss 18 Sept 2015)


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Filed under English folk/modern, English folk/traditional, Uncategorized

Black and Grey


A tune from Playford’s The Dancing Master, 1686 (also known as A Trip to Kilburn – originally the name of the dance that belongs to the tune).

The Round  has a good piece on the Playford tunes and dances – ‘melodies that set a-tapping the toes of Charles II, Henry Purcell and Samuel Pepys,’ says Mary Anne Ballard of the Baltimore Consort.

So, here’s Black and Grey played by quartet Boldwood, followed by a slower version on mandolin that’s perfect for catching the tune by ear.



Becky Price (accordion), Daniel Wolverson (viola), Matthew Coatsworth (fiddle), Kate Moran (fiddle)

A video made during rehearsal in January 2016.


(‘Boldwood – Black and Grey’ YouTube video, 4.31. Posted by Boldwood, 2 Feb 2016.


Folk and Classical Mandolin

Sadly no name or contact details for this accomplished mandolinist, whose YouTube video notes quote interesting dates and information for the tune from The Fiddler’s Companion.


(‘Black and Grey or A Trip To Kilburn (Playford, 1686), on mandolin’ YouTube video, 0.58. Posted by Folk and Classical Mandolin, 27 Nov 2010.


Boldwood: for CDs, gigs and other news, see their  website   Facebook

Also available from their website is the brilliant The Boldwood Dancing Master, a book of over 70 English country dance tunes from 1679 to 1838.

Folk and Classical MandolinYouTube channel


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Filed under English folk/traditional

Ways of the World


Andy Fitzgibbon teaches a lively 3-part, crooked Kentucky tune as played by fiddler William Hamilton Stepp in 1937. The fiddle is cross-tuned AEAE, giving that characteristic Old Time ring from the sympathetic drone strings. (More on Bill Stepp and cross-tuning below.)


Andy Fitzgibbon (fiddle)

Teaching video for the 2014 Cowan Creek Mountain Music School advanced fiddle class.


(‘Bill Stepp’s Ways of the World – Andy FitzGibbon’ YouTube video, 2.31. Posted by Andrew Fitzgibbon, 8 Sep 2015.


fhofstepp2William Stepp (fiddle)

‘Fiddler Bill’ Stepp (18451947), of Magoffin County, Kentucky, was the last fiddler to be captured on disc machine by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax during their Kentucky song-collecting expedition. He was a close friend of fiddler John Salyer (see ‘Last of Harris’).



(From the Appalachian Center Collection, Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives. Hear the full Stepp recordings at:


Here’s a note on cross-tuning, previously published in ‘Newt Payne’s Tune


So you thought you could play violin…

(cross-tunings for those hell-bent on going over to the dark side from Wikipedia’s excellent page on cross-tuning)

FCGD = Cajun Tuning (one whole step down from GDAE)

GDGB = Open G Tuning

GDGD = Sawmill Tuning or “Cross G”

GDAD = “Gee-Dad”

DDAD = Dead Man’s Tuning, or Open D Tuning, or Bonaparte’s Retreat Tuning, or “Dee-Dad”

ADAE = High Bass Tuning, Old-Timey D Tuning

AEAE = Cross Tuning, “Cross A”, “High Bass, High Counter” (or “High Bass, High Tenor”), Cross Chord; similar to Sawmill Tuning

AEAC♯ = Black Mountain Rag Tuning, Calico Tuning, Open A Tuning, or Drunken Hiccups Tuning

AEAD for Old Sledge, Silver Lake

EDAE for Glory in the Meeting House

EEAE for Get up in the Cool

(Reproduced under Creative Commons license)

More hands-on cross-tuning at: (tunes taught at Greg and Jere Canote’s Seattle string band classes


Andy Fitzgibbon plays with the Iron Leg Boys, and co-runs the New Young Fogies project with Anna Roberts-Gevalt (of Anna & Elizabeth: see ‘The Devil’s Nine Questions/Billy in the Lowground’)


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Filed under American old-time/traditional, American traditional, Uncategorized